Back in the fall of 2009, discussion was lively about what's missing for some individuals from nicotine eliquids. Those of us having those discussions were speculating madly. Maybe it's the beta-carbolines? (I was never a fan of this idea). Maybe it's MAOI's? There was no shortage of suggestions.
While pondering over why snus satisfies so much better than nicotine e-liquid, I asked myself for perhaps the hundredth time, "Why does snus work so much better than eliquid?" After all, neither is being burned, then it hit me... the minor alkaloids. So I started into a slew of private messages with a few folks and nobody told me I was being stupid. This was encouraging, so on November 3, 2009, I posted the following:
I've been discussing a new pet theory with a few of the more technical folks. I suspect that the problem some people have with ecigs is that the tobacco has been over-processed down to just nicotine.
Imagine a tobacco extraction that instead of purifying to just nicotine, purifies to the tobacco alkaloids. All the thousands of extra chemicals are gone, but all the alkaloids (including presumably the MAIO's) remain. This might mix down with PG to a vaping liquid to be reckoned with.
While I can produce such a thing, I have no need to do it personally since plain nicotine works for me. I'd have a hard time offering a sample of such a liquid to somebody who isn't getting satisfaction from ecigs since I would be effectively asking that person to be a guinea pig, so the whole things runs afoul of my notion of responsibility, professionalism, and you name it... but again, I suspect such a "minimally processed" liquid might be quite effective.
So whole tobacco alkaloids was conceived. My concerns about the safety of this idea were evident, but curiosity won the day. On November 5, I posted the following:
Yesterday, I picked up 200 grams of Stokkebye Danish Export tobacco, basically a blend of Virginia tobacco. I set 100 grams aside, and did some extraction/purification work on the other 100 grams. I really wasn't working hard for a high extraction efficiency, more for a pure isolation of the whole spread of tobacco alkaloids. Even at that, I managed maybe 0.75 grams of tobacco alkaloids, which I suspect is somewhere in the 35 - 45% recovery range. The extract is currently being solvent-stripped in a manner that precludes any organic solvent remaining in the extract. if you're going to use organic solvents, you'd best know how to get rid of organic solvents... completely. At the current volume in solvent (100 mL), the alkaloid mixture is crystal clear. This should give you an idea how little material remains from the original 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of tobacco. I expect the concentrated alkaloids to be pale yellow.
Initially, I think I was referring to the extraction as "full tobacco alkaloids". The next day:
I exhaustively removed the solvent remnants, and mixed the alkaloids down to 22.5 mg/mL in 50/50 PG/VG, probably around 20 mg/mL nicotine and 2.5 mg/mL other tobacco alkaloids. The liquid is clear at this level. Vaping this on a 3.6 volt Chuck (actually 4.1 volts), it hits the throat like a velvet glove (wrapped around an anvil). The throat hit is very much like an analog, impressively like an analog!
Which brings us to November 7, 2009. Naming the baby:
Here's what it looks like when tobacco alkaloids are separated from the rest of the tobacco. I would describe this tobacco alkaloid mix as a copper brown liquid of exceptional clarity (I.E. no cloudiness whatsoever). You're looking at 0.42 mL in an approximately 2 mL vial. This is the material that was mixed with USP PG and VG to produce the ~28 mg/mL whole tobacco alkaloid (WTA, if you require an acronym) e-liquid.
Don't know how I came up with 28 mg/mL when I posted 22.5 mg/mL earlier. Maybe I split it into 2 different batches? Dunno.
The end result of all the extraction and purification, less than 0.5 mL of tobacco alkaloids:
View attachment 225099
This tiny bit of alkaloids, separated from this:
View attachment 225100
Over the next week, despite having declared my disinterest in continuing, I started to produce more WTA for testing with volunteers. That's, perhaps, another post.
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